.- A Catholic school board in Ontario is under fire for approving Philip Pullmanâs "His Dark Materials" trilogy for its school libraries.
Though other Catholic school boards have pulled the atheistic fantasy trilogy from their librariesâ shelves, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board told the press the books would remain in circulation.
"The book is very definitely anti-authoritarian but in terms of how it's presented, it's a fantasy world with a fictionalized church that in no way resembles the one in which we live, even though [Pullman] borrows a couple of terms," said Jonathan Wright, religion and family life consultant for the board, speaking to the local newspaper The Record.
Author Pullman has been clear about the aim of his books. He is reported to have said "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief," and "my books are about killing God"
Peter Vere, the co-author of a book about Pullmanâs work titled âPied Piper of Atheismâ, explained further. "The context of this trilogy is about overthrowing, not just any authority, but the Authority," Vere said. "Pullman identifies the Authority in his third book by using most of God's names from the Old Testament."
The same school board was approached earlier this year by the group Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, which was concerned about a teacher resource book and various objectionable books, videos, and pamphlets promoting homosexuality. One student in the district was inspired by one book to declare herself homosexual and to found a gay âprideâ club.
Catholic lawyer and REAL Women Canada Vice President Gwen Landolt expressed frustration with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Landolt told LifeSiteNews.com that the board "no longer represents Catholics or the Catholic Church and is operating as a secular humanist school board."
She urged Catholic authorities to correct school officials. "It's painful that the Catholic Church itself has not addressed the problem of this wayward board,â she said.
Wright said the Catholic board has, at least since 2000, received no complaints about the books. The first book of the trilogy, The Golden Compass, has been adapted for a new movie.